Winnsboro Festival of Books Scheduled for May 4

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Winnsboro’s second Festival of Books is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 4, at Winnsboro Center for the Arts, 200 Market Street, including book sales and signings by authors.

Storytime begins at 9 a.m. with local author Nancy Falster and her canine buddy, Stuart, who is the subject of her book, Stuart Finds A Home.

Falster is one of the members of the children’s panel which begins at 9:30 a.m. The panel also includes Judy Lowe, Donna Page and Sue Barker. 

From 10:30 - 10:45 a.m., festival attendees are treated to a performance by Children’s Alter Dance Company at 220 Market Street.

From 11 - 11:15 a.m., local authors are recognized.

From 11:15 - noon, Melissa Whitley Lenhardt moderates the Adult Mystery Panel, including Deborah Crombie, Reavis Wortham and Harry Hunsicker.

From 12:10 - 1 p.m., First United Methodist Pastor Debbie Lyons moderates the Adult Christian Panel, including Lorri Allen, Tammy Hendricksmeyer and Delia Latham. 

A bit about the authors:

Nancy Falster is a health and fitness expert, professional speaker, personal chef, and hard-working farmer who uses her stories about Stuart the dog to educate the public on the need for animal rescue and more responsible pet ownership. 

Judy Lowe is a retired part-time teacher in the Dallas Independent School District. She has written three children’s books, including This Little White Light, and MJ’s New Friend, which have both been translated into Spanish. 

Donna Page, a native of Dallas, worked 25 years as an architectural illustrator and in fine arts. In 2010, she and her husband Paul relocated to East Texas. In 2014, she wrote and illustrated her first children’s book, Katrina Dogs, depicting two dogs in New Orleans caught in Hurricane Katrina, their adventures and ultimately finding new homes. A percentage of each book sold is donated to an animal rescue organization.

Sue Barker first learned that her son Cole wrote The Boar Named Bob when one of his teachers presented it to her after his untimely death. More than two decades ago, Cole’s fourth-grade teacher, Ms. Lawrence, gave her class an assignment to write a book. Young Cole begrudgingly completed the task and even tried to throw the book away after it was displayed at a parents’ night event. Ms. Lawrence, impressed and proud of his story, was undeterred and kept the book as an example for future students. The teacher even displayed it on a screen so that other children, especially boys who weren’t keen on writing a book, could see the art and the layout as Cole had imagined it. The book has now been published and can be purchased at All proceeds are donated to the Cole Barker Memorial Scholarship Fund to grant scholarships to graduating seniors at Mount Vernon High School each year.

Melissa Whitley Lenhardt, who is credited with creating a new genre, the feminist western, is the author of six books. Her latest, Heresy, was released in October, 2018, and was reviewed by The New York Times. Her seventh book is set for publication in 2020.

“When I was putting together this panel, Deb, Reavis, and Harry were my first choices,” Lenhardt said. “Though they all write mysteries, each one writes in a distinct sub-genre and they all have very unique writing styles and voices, which will make for a great discussion. Plus, we all know each other, so I expect our panel to be the day’s most fun.”

Deborah Crombie was born in Dallas and grew up in Richardson, second child of Charlie and Mary Darden. A post-university trip to England cemented a life-long passion for Britain, and she later immigrated to the UK with her first husband, Peter Crombie, a Scot. After returning to live in Dallas, a trip to Yorkshire inspired her first Detective Superintendent Duncan Kincaid/Sergeant Gemma James novel, A Share in Death, and was subsequently given Agatha and Macavity nominations for Best First Novel of 1993. Crombie’s latest novel in the series, To Dwell in Darkness, was published in September, 2014.

Harry Hunsicker is the former executive vice-president of the Mystery Writers of America and the author of seven crime thrillers. His work has been short-listed for both the Shamus and Thriller Awards. Hunsicker’s story, "West of Nowhere," originally published in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, was selected for inclusion in the anthology The Best American Mystery Stories 2011. His novel, The Devil’s Country, was published in April, 2017.

Reavis Wortham’s new high octane contemporary thriller series from Kensington Publishing featuring Texas Ranger Sonny Hawke kicked off in 2017 with the publication of Hawke’s Prey. The second Sonny Hawke thriller, Hawke’s War, was published in May 2018, and the latest Red River Mystery, Gold Dust, was published last fall.

Before returning to East Texas, Lorri Allen worked in faith-based media for nine years - from Fort Worth to Atlanta and then in Tucson. She was the news director at CBS 19 and a faith columnist for the Tyler Morning Telegraph until nearly four years ago, when she started working as a professor and media adviser. Allen is the author of It’s All Good News: Encouragement for Every Season, a book of essays similar to those columns that ran in the Tyler paper.

Delia Latham puts her characters through earthly trials to bring them out victorious with the help of heavenly messengers and good old-fashioned love. You’ll find a touch of the divine in her tales of sweet romance. She and her husband Johnny live in East Texas.

Sponsors of this year’s festival include The Bowery Book Club, The Community Chronicle, DEAR (Drop Everything and Read) Texas, Winnsboro Center for the Arts and The Winnsboro News. All proceeds benefit children’s programs at WCA.  

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